Autumn Vibes at Pengelly Retreat in Cornwall

Yes I know we’re still in August… but is anyone else feeling the autumn vibes yet?! There’s definitely been lots of people planning their UK autumn holidays in Cornwall this year. We are already fully booked in both the lakeside Boat House cabin and Sail House luxury yurt for the entire month of September. And all the October weekends have been swiped by those canny early bookers as well! It’s not too late to get in on the action though, we’ve still got some availability in October in both our lovely lakeside houses. And November has availability if you’re looking for an autumnal weekend break in Cornwall.

Small weddings in Cornwall at Pengelly Retreat
An autumnal break at the romantic lakeside Boat House at Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @oliviamoonphoto

Why to Visit Cornwall in Autumn

Autumn is one of our favourite times of year in Cornwall. It so much quieter than the busy summer months so there’s no worries about visiting some of the gorgeous Cornish highlights which get packed out in the school holidays. Visits to St Ives, St Michael’s Mount, Kynance and Porthcurno Beaches are back on! We still get lots of sunny days in autumn and the sea is the warmest it gets all year round, having been heated up by the summer sunshine. Which makes this time of year a favourite with wild swimmers, surfers, body boarders and kayakers at the gorgeous Cornish beaches nearby.

Gwithian Beach looking towards St Ives

The wild swimming lake at Pengelly Retreat is still warm enough for leisurely swims without the “bbbbrrrrrr” factor being too high. And even on a chillier day, you can still hop into the lush outside bath at the Boat House cabin or the heated outside shower at the Sail House to warm up nicely after your swim.

A warming outside bath after a wild swim in the lake!

The Best Activities in Cornwall in Autumn

Here’s some of my favourite autumn activities to do in Cornwall to make the most of this beautiful time of year down here.

Woodland walks and blackberry picking – I’m a big fan of woodland walks at any time of year if I’m honest! However autumn walks in the woods here in Cornwall are something else with the leaves turning gently to golden brown and the sunshine dappling through the trees. If I look out of my window here at Pengelly Retreat I can already see the blackberries turning to ripe juicy purple, definitely a sign that autumn is approaching. Some of my favourite Cornish woodlands are nearby Crenver Grove and Godolphin woods, both of which are accessible on foot or a (very) short drive from Pengelly Retreat. A little further afield I love the mysterious and watery vibes at Kennall Vale.

Cornish woodlands at Crenver Grove
The ancient Cornish woodlands at Crenver Grove

Going to the beach without the crowds – come the end of the school holidays and miraculously the beaches in Cornwall are empty again! I love spending time at the beach with my little girl in the holidays but I do also LOVE the fact that I can get a beach almost to myself at other times of year here. Some of our nearby favourites are Gwithian, Praa Sands and Poldhu. A little further afield Porthcurno and Kynance are absolutely beach beauties that get packed in the summer but are much more appealing in the quieter autumn.

Beautiful sunrise from the deck of the Boat House at Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @annac42 The Cornish Life.

Explore Cornwall by bike – Autumn is a great time for cycling in Cornwall, weather still good but it’s not quite so sweaty…! A favourite nearby for us is the Coast to Coast trail which runs from Portreath on the north coast to Devoran on the south, mostly off-road. For more ideas of cycle trails take a look at the Mineral Tramways leaflets which has a very handy map full of cycle trails round Cornwall.

Cosy fire pit at the luxury lakeside yurt at Pengelly Retreat
Get the fire going in the fire pit at the Sail House! Photo by @annalieandted

Kayak down the Helford River – we absolutely love the Helford River area at any time of year for walking, beaches and kayak trips. Autumn is especially lush as the riverine forest turns into it’s autumnal hues. Koru Kayaking run brilliant kayak trips in this beautiful part of the world from the little beach at the Budock Vean Hotel.

All the autumn feels from our recent elopements photo shoot at Pengelly Retreat. Photo by

Cosy Cornish pub lunches in Cornwall – and if the weather has gone a bit mizzly then what better time than to retreat to cosy Cornish pub for some hearty grub by a warming fire. We really like the Heron at Malpas which has beautiful views over the Estuary, the Pandora Inn at Restronguet Creek and the Victoria Inn at Perranuthnoe.

Beautiful estuary views from the Heron Inn at Malpas

What are your favourite things to do in the autumn? Come on holiday to Cornwall by any chance? Well you know what to do then! Much love to everyone and hope to see you all soon at Pengelly Retreat 🙂

Cosy bubble bath at the Sail House yurt, Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @annalieandted

Wildlife & Autumn Wonders at Pengelly Retreat

Our first summer season has rushed by and we are now into one of our favourite times of year here at Pengelly Retreat. Autumn! I keep seeing the hashtag autumn vibes on social media at the moment and it always makes me smile because I love this time of year.

Autumn at Pengelly
Autumn sunrise over the lake from the Boat House

We’ve had a real mixed bag of weather in September and October with some gorgeous hot sunny days and some days when the rain just didn’t seem to stop. But this means the gardens and land are looking lush and lovely, with all those autumn red, orange and yellow tones coming through. 

Jim has been hard at work on the land as usual with his latest project planting a wetland garden round the oxbow lagoon, just beyond the Boat House. He’s planted umbrella grass, irises and reeds, sown bog meadow mix and planning to put in silver birch trees and gunnera plants. We can’t wait to see how it looks next spring. He’s also made a new compost area so we can properly compost our leaves and leftovers.

Planting done.. what will it look like next year?!

The wildlife has been flourishing too. We’ve got a hedgehog hibernating in the barn – it gets quite feisty if you go near it and hisses, so no photos. Jim and Aggie have built a beautiful hedgehog house by the stream in hopes a hibernating hedgehog might move in but no luck yet.  Picky customers those hedgehogs!  

Autumn sun over the Sail House

Lucky guests staying at the Sail House yurt have been enjoying watching a kingfisher who likes to perch near the lake looking for fish.  Apparently you can watch him from the comfort of the bed in there – now that’s luxurious bird-watching!  We also had a couple of sets of guests earlier in the season spot an otter in the lake.  We are thrilled that an otter has visited our lake at Pengelly Retreat.  

We’ve had quite a few guests try their hand at fishing for the wild brown trout in the lake during their stays – catch and release policy.  All I can say is those brown trout are VERY clever and you have to be a top fisher-person to catch them.  There’s lots in there, but the only guest who had much success was a pro fisherman who competes and wins in high profile competitions.  This doesn’t seem to put other guests off from trying, we all like a challenge!

Peaceful cloud reflections over one of the pools at Pengelly Retreat

We’ve been busy throughout the year and are already rapidly booking up for next year which is great.  Thank you very much to all our lovely guests who’ve stayed with us so far in our first year of running Pengelly Retreat and we look forward to meeting all those who are booked in with us for the future.  If you’d like to squeeze in a stay at the Boat House or the Sail House this year there’s still a chance!  We have a few dates available in November and first half of December, take a look at our availability calendar for details and prices.  

Happy Halloween everyone and look out for your next Postcard from Pengelly 🙂